Originating in China, Traditional Chinese Medicine is also known as TCM. This type of medicine is practiced throughout most of Asia, particularly in Eastern Asia, and has found its way into the United States and Canada as well. In the United States and Canada, however, it is considered to be Alternative Medicine, which is not to be confused with traditional, modern, or Western Medicine.
TCM is thought to be more than a thousand years old. It entails the Yin and Yang theory, the Five Phases, Zang Fu, and more, including the constellations. While it was practiced in an un-systemized manner in China, it was finally systemized by the People’s Republic of China around 1950. The philosophies and methods used in TCM have their roots in the Buddhist and Taoist beliefs and practices. It is the overall belief of these religions, and this medical practice that everything is united – what is going on in your mind, your body, and the universe are all irreversibly connected, and each plays a role on the other.
Throughout history, there have been many different disciplines that fall under the category of TCM, and these different disciplines typically made their appearances under the rule of different ruling dynasties in China. Today, however, TCM is learned and practiced with the use of just a few historical texts.
Despite the different disciplines within Traditional Chinese Medicine, all disciplines closely follow the same diagnostic guidelines – most of which pertain to observances of the human body on all levels. This includes using all five senses when examining the human body, and taking it a bit further to find out what is going on in the patient’s life or environment – from a physical and mental standpoint, since everything is universally connected. Because of the intensity of the diagnostic process, and the need to use the five senses so efficiently, it takes years of training to become a skilled TCM practitioner.
Through TCM, after a diagnosis is made, a practitioner may choose one or several different methods of treatment for the illness or injury that the patient has. This can include the use of herbs or herbal mixtures, food therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, several different massage therapies – including Shiatsu Massage and Tui Na Massage, and other forms of alternative healing methods, such as cupping. While some practitioners may use one or two healing methods for all conditions, others will use a wider variety of healing methods, and base the healing methods used on the diagnosis.